Without giving any details, let's just say that three of my coworkers (all related to each other) have suffered catastrophic changes in their lives recently. Two of them have not been back to work yet, due to health reasons. One has come back just because she had to, but she probably would have stayed home if she could.
When we were talking about this on break the other night, one of the nurses was talking about how the gal who came back to work should have stayed home. My response was, no, she needed to come back to work because she was really going to need the money. The nurse said she needed the time off for grieving, that she was due three days off. (We don't get paid for this.)
At that point, I stopped talking. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that I was right. Having three days off doesn't make the pain go away. This was not a situation where she would have to handle any legal issues due to the death. Sitting at home is not going to make her feel better or pay her bills. On the other hand, working will ensure that she has a full paycheck and taking care of the residents will help her feel needed instead of helpless. Also, some of the resident's who are "with it" know what she is going through and would likely offer her support. There's more to gain by coming to work than not.
I've always felt that work was a refuge when things weren't going well at home. I think this is especially true in the Nursing Center environment. Staying busy and feeling needed go a long way toward taking your mind off your troubles. And not having to stress about a short paycheck is just an added bonus.